SELECTING YOUR NEW OFFICE – CAT A OR CAT B?

Two common types of office fit-out are known as Cat A and Cat B
• Shell & Core developments include finishes to the landlord’s area only
• Cat B fit-outs take the work to a stage further forward from Cat A

When selecting a new office, you will notice that there are various levels of fit-out, which will no doubt be reflected in the rent payable, but which will also impact upon the initial cost of setting up your office on the premises.

The most basic condition in which potential office space is usually offered to the market is often termed “Shell & Core”. A Shell & Core development may include finishes to the landlord’s spaces only, with services distribution for the building’s tenants capped off at the risers to each office floor. Rent for such accommodation may seem cheap but fit-out costs will be high.

At the other end of the spectrum, fully-fitted serviced offices are widely available, where all facilities are provided, often including a manned reception and additional bookable conference facilities.

Between these extremes, there are many variations in how much the landlord provides. Two levels of fit-out often offered are widely known as Cat A and Cat B.

A Cat A fit-out, which is sometimes known as “developers finish”, includes the provision of suspended ceilings, raised floors, carpets and basic M&E services into the office space. According to Building Magazine, compared with Shell & Core, a Cat A fit-out adds up to £425 per square metre (sq mtr) of net internal floor area for offices in the City of London or West End, and up to £325 per sq mtr for outer London locations.

A Cat B fit-out takes the work a stage further forward. The fit-out is completed by the landlord or developer to the future occupier’s specific requirements, and can include the partitioning of cellular office space, all furniture and fittings, and IT and communications deployment. Such a fit-out can also include the modification to Shell & Core; Cat A finishes and services provisions to accommodate a client’s space planning and operational needs.

If all this leaves you confused, you are not alone. It pays to work with a fit-out specialist in order to advise you on the best balance between the cost of fitting-out your offices initially and the ongoing rental charge. Exit costs and dilapidations at the end of the lease also need to be factored into the equation.

If you are considering an office relocation, then why not talk to one of our workplace consultants who will be able to offer their expert advice. You can rest assured that the consultants at Office Principles have a wealth of experience in helping company’s find the best office space that will meet their business objectives.

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